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In-house Recruiters and Hiring Managers

MUST. READ. FIRST. Are You Selecting a New ATS?


Time for a change?

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Pointers to help HR maximise your ATS selection process

With so many ATS systems in the marketplace, it’s a real challenge to ensure you have taken every step possible to understand the many different levels of ATS available.  Apart from having your own business goals and candidate experience strategy, you need to ensure you that you know what you want and the dangers of falling foul of the ‘big sales pitch’. 

Here’s some key pointers to help HR teams get the most out of their selection process, before making a commitment to any ATS provider.

Whilst we know what makes a good ATS and understand the arduous process teams have to go through, we also know that HR teams sometimes need a bit of help with due diligence that will steer an  organisation’s decision process in the right direction.

The ATS landscape

Definition of role to induction. We seriously recommend that you take careful consideration to ensure that all the components of this journey are included within the subscription of the ATS.


You should expect the following features as a min:


Plus, a dedicated Careers hub that includes:



We believe there are 3 types of ATS:   

  1. Box-Ticking
  2. Process-Improvement
  3. Brand Strategy


What does each type deliver?


This type of ATS platform is often available from global providers of ERP or HR Payroll systems where recruitment is simply an additional module created to tick the ATS box in the list of functionality.  Although the ATS module provided works seamlessly with the wider HR software solution, it is often limited and restrictive in terms of functionality.

There will come a time when, if not straight away, you realise that you need more from your ATS, and unfortunately, because it’s not their key software focus, you can be left waiting for it to be updated – if it get’s updated at all – or you may find that your provider will make the changes, but at a substantial cost to you.

If recruitment isn’t a big part of your organisation and recruitment costs are already low, this option may be suitable for you.

Support. Make sure you get the appropriate telephone, email and chat-bot support options as standard.


There are now hundreds of entry level “out the box” ATS platforms which have been designed and operated with businesses that see the services element as the revenue generator.  They do promise quite a lot, and many do deliver, but there are no guarantees.

You will also have to pay for basic additional components and add-ons to your ATS, many of which come as standard with most of the ATS specialist platforms.  One thing to be aware of is the low upfront cost of these platforms; don’t be swayed simply by money, make sure your decision is based on ‘fit’, as when you add the cost of maintaining, implementing new technologies, servicing and updating these platform, over 3 years, the costs can mount up to the same or even more than that of a much better solution.

Support. If you do opt for this type of solution, be sure that you get the appropriate telephone, email and chat-bot support options as standard with clear SLA’s. 

Brand Strategy

This type of ATS platform has usually been developed by an organisation with the primary focus of creating and selling ATS technology. You will often find that this type of provider is solution-focused as opposed to product-focused. They will generally spend the time to understand your processes, your internal structure, your challenges, and your preferences, and they will present a solution that works ‘with’ your existing hiring activity, rather than against it. 

But how do you know which one is right for you? Every business is different and, as such, so are their requirements for recruitment. Below are a few things you can look out for to help you make the best decision for you.

Check out their customer page for success stories to see what is being said, what areas are improving and what stats they have to share. Remember, this level of software is provided to companies that want to transform the way their hiring activity affects the rest of the business as well as their brand. When looking at the success stories, be sure to check out their customer’s actual careers site so you can see and feel how the software presents the company’s recruitment opportunities.

It’s always worth looking at the activity and engagement levels on the providers social media pages, too, in particular LinkedIn, as it will give you a good idea of the type of company you are about to create a partnership with.

The upfront cost of this type of solution is usually higher than the other two types of ATS, but the results are generally much bigger and a return on investment can often be seen in as little as 3-6 months.

Support. If you opt for this type of solution, be sure to ask about their support processes, as they often encourage regular communication to ensure the best result, but they will be able to guide you on which support route to take to get the most effective response, and when. 

You may also find that these dedicated providers have a higher number of developers working on the system at all times in order to continue progressing the product offering; this is often combined with a 12 month roadmap that some may be willing to share with you as a customer. This is a good sign that your hiring process will remain at the forefront of any technological advancements in the recruitment sector; look for ATS providers that include Video interviewing and Employee engagement technologies from application to induction (and pre-boarding). 

Additionally, the best of these ATS providers will also provide technical support for your candidates, as well as the system users.  

Additional Pointers:

Candidate attraction by putting the brand first

HR should be aligned with creative or marketing so that each campaign delivered is just a like a marketing campaign, perfectly on brand.  This starts at the careers page and touches all advertisements, applications and gateways.

Careers sites should have the ‘WOW’ effect and should tease and entice applicants to want to apply for a role.  There’s nothing like a great careers site to promote your company’s brand, reputation and, more importantly, to attract the very best candidates.

Ensure that your selected ATS platform is customisable to work with your brand; this is key as it can deliver your goals for the best careers site possible. Don’t forget, making sure the candidate experience is positive and seamless when applying for jobs via the careers page is key. 

We would encourage all HR teams to apply for a job on their own site to ensure they absolutely get what a candidate has to go through.  If organisations are steered by global counterparts, it’s critical to de-globalise roles, especially in the UK, so ensure the ATS you select can localise your campaigns.

Dip into Talent Pools

Building talent pools is a great way to save on adverting/agency fees; if you have a great talent pool built up to approach potential employees, you’ll require less and less help from a third party, such as an agency.  

With a great ATS, you can start building your very own talent pool from the off; you can usually add existing candidates to that pool and then, by ensuring you have tags in place, you can use your talent pool to search for the ideal candidates.  It’s also a great way to store details on passive candidates.


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